Failed Drug Test Prompts Woman To Warn About CBD Product Use

By Paul Gaita 09/23/19

"I wanted to make sure that other people could learn [about THC content in CBD] and not have to go through what our family has."

Image: 
woman about to take a urinalysis to screen for THC
THC can be found in some CBD products © Elnur | Dreamstime.com

After taking hemp protein and CBD oil for their calming effect, an Oregon resident was shocked to learn that her prospective new job had been rescinded after a mandatory drug test revealed trace amounts of THC.

Suzan Chandler doesn't blame her employer for taking back the job offer, but told an Oregon news outlet that individuals who buy CBD products may not know that certain ones contain THC.

The designation of which products contain the cannabinoid THC, which produces a euphoric response in users, and which do not, may not be immediately known to consumers like Chandler, who urged buyers to ask questions about and read labels on their CBD purchases.

According to the Portland-based Fox affiliate KPTV, Chandler, a nurse practitioner, was up for a new job at a local urgent care, and passed all of the preliminary requirements before taking a urine drug test to complete the process. Though her CBD intake was limited to the aforementioned products and no marijuana use, she was surprised to discover that she had tested positive for THC, which resulted in the loss of the job offer.

"I never used a product knowingly with THC," she said. "I wouldn’t."

The loss of the job offer had what Chandler described as a "significant" impact on her family's financial status.

"Our family, all of a sudden, doesn't have my income," she said. "I decided that I wanted to make sure that other people could learn [about THC content in CBD] and not have to go through what our family has."

Broad Spectrum CBD vs. Full Spectrum CBD

To explain how THC can be found in CBD products, KPTV spoke with Renee Barnes, co-owner of CBD-lish, which makes and sells CBD products in Portland. She told the news outlet that customers need to be aware of whether the item they're buying contains either full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD.

Full spectrum CBD contains all compounds that naturally occur in cannabis, including essential oils and cannabinoids, including THC. Federal law only allows 0.3% THC in CBD products; any product containing a higher percentage is considered marijuana and a Schedule I drug, which is illegal under federal law. 

Broad spectrum CBD also contains compounds found within the plant, but THC is completely absent from products with that designation. Medium.com describes it as a combination of full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, which is often extracted from hemp and contains no compounds.

If You Are Being Drug Tested, Play it Safe

Barnes told KPTV that using a full spectrum CBD product doesn't guarantee that one would fail a drug test, but she advises being safe in regard to such products if drug testing is a regular element of a job.

"We've had firemen, we've had policemen, we've had people doing jobs that are very, you know, essential that they don't [test positive for THC], and you know, we'll talk to them about it," she said.

Chandler bears no ill will towards the company that turned her down.

"We get drug screened for a reason, and those are good reasons," she explained to KPTV. And she said that she still stands by the merits of CBD for health, but doesn't plan to use any products in the foreseeable future.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.